A bicycle with battery-operated pedal assist is referred to as s pedelec. You could also call it a bike with built-in tailwind. The term „pedelec“ is short for pedal electric cycle and therefore it is an electric bicycle. The difference between a yet known regular e-bike and a pedelec is the different propulsion usage. The basic function of a pedelec is similar to a bicycle: just start pedalling.
The idea of a pedelec is to strenghten the cyclist’s pedalling power to enable an easier cycling, to reach a greater range and thereby to reduce the physical effort. A pedelec – contrary to a regular bike – is additionally equipped with an electric engine, a battery, a corresponding controller and also with sensors to determine the movement of the crank. You start pedalling, the sensor registers this movement and assists your pedalling through an electric engine.
The speacial feature of a pedelec is the pedal assist. The pedelec types vary and you can use them for all imaginable purposes, for example: city-bikes, sport-bikes, tour bikes, etc. All bikes offer the comfortable pedal assist but are equipped differently. Through this additional power it is possible to reach speeds up to 45 km/h even during ascents. Greater average speeds than with a regular bike were also easily reached on flat distances and the range increased considerably.
The basic idea is that relaxed cycling will attract those people who would normally rely on motorized transportation. With a pedelec you can enjoy cycling without any effort. It is perfectly suitable for older or overweight people or for people with faint condition. The pedelec opens a whole new scope of movement: All of a sudden anybody can go on a bike tour of 100 km! Who previously abstained from cycling, can now jump on one’s bicycle and dare to ride around Lake Constance or even to cross the Alps. Even transportation of more weight is possible on long distances. Once tried, you do not want to switch to a regular bicycle anymore. In the past weeks and months many retirees were on the move in a hilly landscape by electric bicycles – without any effort of course. So the weekend trip will be a great pleasure. Our conclusion: absolutely recommendable!
Critics expect that an increased perception of speed will affect into an overestimated performance of cycling and thus could lead to accident frequency. Within the European countries - where usage of pedelecs is permitted - different admission restrictions apply that mainly infer from a safety aspect. However, who acts responsibly towards speed and road traffic only restrains oneself from buying a pedelec because of the price: Due to the additional engine and the battery a good pedelec costs more than a regular bicycle.
In Germany pedelec usage is permitted without wearing a helmet or having a corresponding driver’s license as long as the average speed does not exceed the registered speed limit of 25 km/h. Proponents of electric bicycles point out that launching the regular bicycle did not cause more accidents.
The concept seems to convince prospects and those target audiences who quit riding a regular bicycle for different reasons and could now increase their mobility by using a pedelec.